Background: Bioelectrical impedance analysis (BIA) is a safe, low-cost, non-invasive, rapid method for the assessment of body composition. It has therefore a great potential to be employed for epidemiological and clinical studies. However, many devices are available to estimate total body water (TBW), fat-free mass (FFM) and fat mass (FM) by bioelectrical impedance measurements. Moreover, bipedal devices allowing measurements in the only standing position are recently developed. They are easy and practical to use without operator, so a large diffusion can be forecasted in fields as sport and diet programs. Comparison of body composition estimation by a bipedal device with bioimpedance devices currently used, using dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) as reference method.
Methods: The study was performed on 18 healthy women volunteers, age 32.0+/-10.7 years divided in two groups at different levels of body fatness. A Xitron 4000 impedance analyser, a BIA-101 RJL System, and the bipedal device Tanita were used for comparison. The measurements were performed in standing and supine position for Xitron and RJL devices. DXA measurements were performed with a total body scanner DPX, Lunar.
Results: FM and FFM were not statistically different when measured with Xitron and RJL in comparison with DXA, while these variables were significantly different between Tanita and DXA measurements. No significant difference were found between measurements in the supine and standing position with the Xitron and RJL system.
Conclusions: Our results suggest that FM and FFM evaluated by bipedal device Tanita are significantly different from FM and FFM measured by DXA in both normal and obese population.